Article in Hindu Opportunities

Are you really marketable?

How marketable are you? If you decide to leave your present job, for whatever reasons, are you assured of getting a better or even a comparable job by the time your notice period ends? If the answer is a resounding ‘No', then your marketability index is less than one and there is definitely cause for alarm. Your marketability index (MI) tells you how poorly or otherwise you are placed vis-a vis the market.

Compensation mismatch

If you wonder why you score so poorly on the MI, the answer is simple. Many of us are overpaid because our personal productivity has not kept pace with our compensation. For instance in 1981 an IIT & IIMA graduate got Rs 13000 p.a. compensation. In year 2001, compensation for a similar profile (at entry level) was around Rs 7 lakhs. Compensation has gone up 53 times! Even after accounting for a13% inflation rate (p.a) it has gone up by 43 times in real terms. On the contrary our personal productivity may have gone up by half at the outmost. The conclusion is simple. More than ever, today we are more likely to be over priced.

Professional productivity

The only way to improve your MI is to improve your personal productivity on the job. Most of us already spend over 12 hours at work. Spending any more time on the job is not only out of question but also unproductive. As Andy Groove, Ex-Intel Chairman puts it:

“ The more direct way of increasing productivity is doing the same thing in lesser period of time – turning things faster”

The answer lies in changing the way we make decisions …

  • Use contemporary ideas and practices. Ask what's the best way of doing things rather than – how did I do it the last time
  • Be open to adopt new knowledge (don't reinvent the wheel) and place less emphasis on past experience
  • Unlearn what you know from your past and relearn new skills and competencies. Unfortunately as adults we are not highly motivated to learn – to go from the known to the unknown without a strong mentoring system.

Peter Drucker, the management messiah observes that , “ In terms of actual work on knowledge worker productivity we are, in the year 2000, roughly where we were in the year 1900, with regard to the productivity of the manual worker!” According to Drucker labour productivity went up by 50 times during the 20 th century mainly because of the extraordinary research that went into improving labour productivity during this period.

The only way to increase productivity is through continuous learning. To do that, you need to be able to make use of the knowledge explosion. Adopt and adapt to new knowledge.

The three dimensions of professional productivity

The first step in productivity enhancement is to recognise all the three dimensions of productivity-- technology, networking and knowledge and work on enhancing it in each of these areas. This can be done by:

  • Connecting knowledge to work – learning the best practices and latest management principles
  • Leveraging the power of peer networks – learning from Other Peoples' Experience (OPE) and avoid reinventing the wheel
  • Put CID (Communications, Internet, Desktop) technology to work for you – automate your routine work so that you have time for the bigger issues.

The future belongs to those who invest in themselves. And if you think knowledge is expensive, try ignorance.

T Muralidharan,
CEO C&K Management Ltd can be contacted at

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